Janis Thomas's 5 Firsts and Lasts

Janis Thomas SWEET NOTHINGSOur guest today: Janis Thomas Why we love her: Her writing has sass and style!

Her latest: Sweet Nothings

The Scoop:  Life’s sweetest moments happen when you least expect them . . .

When Ruby McMillan’s husband announces one morning that he’s dumping her for another woman, she’s unable to decide which indignity stings the most: the dissolution of their eighteen-year marriage or the deflation of her white-chocolate soufflé with raspberry Grand Marnier sauce. Without a good-bye to their two teenaged children, Walter leaves Ruby to cope with her ruined dessert, an unpaid mortgage, and her failing bakery.

With only royal icing holding her together, Ruby still manages to pick herself up and move on, subsidizing her income with an extra job as a baking instructor, getting a “my-husband’s-gone” makeover, and even flirting with her gorgeous mortgage broker, Jacob Salt. For as long as she can remember, Ruby has done what’s practical, eschewing far-fetched dreams and true love in favor of stability. But suddenly single again at the age of forty-four, she’s beginning to discover that life is most delicious when you stop following a recipe and just live.

Our thoughts: Holiday weekend reading FOR SURE!

Giveaway: TWO copies! Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners on Sunday July 6th after 3pm.

Fun Fact: Janis is multi-talented--she has written 50 songs!

Where to read more about Janice: Her website, Facebook, and Twitter.



FIRST: My first kiss happened on the day of my first wedding. Okay, let me clarify. My first wedding took place in the girls’ bathroom of Anderson Elementary School when I was five years old. I married John Boat that fine morning. He later moved away and I was left to raise our Madam Alexandra dolls all by myself.

LAST: I just gave my daughter a smattering of kisses on her freckled seven-year-old nose. And before that, my husband—or, uh, second husband if you count John Boat—gave me a peck on the cheek as he left for work.

Yes, I know. Bo-ring! See, now, if you’d asked me what my hottest kiss was, I could tell you a wonderful story that involved a restaurant basement and an industrial-strength juicer. Oh well…


FIRST: There is no way I can remember my first book but I do remember the first book that affected me in a cathartic way, and that was The Secret Garden. My mother and I read it together when I was about six.

LAST: My friends and I started a book club this year, which I have wanted to do for ages. There are only four of us, but we still manage to make it a party. Although some of the books have been rather difficult to get through, it’s fun to try new things, and I’m reading books I would never choose for myself. Our book this month is Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (I’m loving it).


FIRST: The first major risk I took was when I moved to New York City right after I graduated from college. I’d lived in Southern California my whole life and I wanted to see how other people lived, to experience different cultures and different ways of life. It should be noted that my first night living in Manhattan, I came face to face with a canine-sized cockroach and a man peeing into the gutter. (It’s a helluva town!) But despite my less than spectacular introduction, the next eleven years were amazing.

LAST: Last risk I took? Um…I’m thinking. I jumped out of a plane…fifteen years ago. What real risks have I taken since then? A few months ago I auditioned for a televised baking competition, but that was more of a lark to publicize my first book, Something New. I recently purchased a PADI certification course for scuba-diving. (And if you saw me in a wet suit, you’d understand just how much of a risk this is.) So although I haven’t actually taken the risk yet, I will be in the near future. Can I count that?


FIRST: My first Aha Moment was probably in fourth grade when I played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Being on the stage and pretending to be someone else and sweeping the audience away into the land of the imagination was an amazing feeling. It’s the same feeling I get with writing.

LAST: I don’t want to sound maudlin, but my last Aha Moment came at my mom’s funeral just three weeks ago today. She was an amazing woman who lived life to the fullest. She touched every person she met and had admirers all over the globe. She loved fully and passionately. She traveled and saw more places than most people dream of. I’ve always been aware of how blessed I am to have had her as my mother. And as I sat in the chapel and listened to my family talk about Mom, as I watched the photo montage we’d put together, I realized that I want to be just like her. I want to smile and laugh as much as she did, see the world with my children, as she did, and touch people with generosity and kindness, as she did. I also realized that life is short, so I better get on it!


FIRST: In eighth grade, I was invited to the annual awards banquet. I figured that meant I might be winning an award, right? Wrong. All I got was a silly little pin for getting straight A’s throughout middle school. Whoopee. I spent three hours watching many of my peers nab various awards while I sat waiting, hoping, wishing my name would be called. It wasn’t. Fast forward four years. I was invited to my high school awards banquet. After having an unpleasant flashback which had nothing to do with rubber chicken, I told my teacher I wouldn’t be attending. She gave me a scathing glare and said, “Oh, yes you will be attending.” And I did. And not to sound immodest, but that night, I spent more time out of my seat than in it. It was a very fun and heady experience. Of course, the next day, I was just me again.

LAST: My most recent Hell Ya moment was last month at my daughter’s second grade play. My daughter was one of the leads, Freida the Frog. She was awesome. Moms occasionally find themselves wondering why they ever had kids in the first place. But seeing my daughter on that stage, singing and dancing her heart out, cracking the audience up with her comic timing, I was proud beyond words. “Hell Ya, that’s my girl!” (And also, I was comforted by the thought that if she makes a fortune on the stage and screen, she’ll be able to take good care of me in my old age. Which is the answer to the question of why we have kids, no?)

Thanks, Janis!